Dear Life: On Caring for the Elderly
I've long admired Karen Hitchcock's columns in The Monthly; this longer piece is similarly compassionate, thoughtful, complex and confronting. Now my beloved father has joined their ranks, I share her fury at the ease with which the elderly in our society can be written off as 'not worth treating.' Dad received the best of care in hospital (and hopefully will continue to receive it in his new home), from gentle nurses and thoughtful orderlies (thank you, Theo, for taking Dad out into the courtyard to feel some fresh air on his face, and for turning on his radio so he could escape into music). But there were also the doctors who spoke over his bed as if he couldn't hear or understand, who treated him as a collection of symptoms, a failed procedure, rather than a person.
I urge everyone in the health profession to read this essay, and also everyone who has an elderly relative, or who hopes to live to be old themselves one day.